Popular sports in Malaysia include badminton, bowling, football, squash, and field hockey. Malaysia has small-scale traditional sports. Wau is a traditional form of kite-flying involving kites created with intricate designs. These kites can reach heights of nearly 500 metres (1,640 ft), and due to bamboo attachments create a humming sound when flown. Sepak takraw is a game in which a rattan ball is kept in the air without using hands. A traditional game played during the rice harbest season was throwing gasing, which are large tops weighing around 5 kilograms (11 lb), which are thrown by unfurling a rope and scooped off the ground while spinning. They are known to be able to spin for over an hour. Other sports are dragon dancing and dragon-boat racing. Malaysia's coastline is popular for scuba diving, sailing, and other water sports and activities. Whitewater rafting and trekking are also often done.
Many international sports are highly popular in Malaysia. Badminton matches in Malaysia attract thousands of spectators, and Malaysia, along with Indonesia and China, has consistently held the Thomas Cup since 1949. The Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation (PLBM) was registered in 1997, and already fields a strong international team and has made progress on the international stage. Squash was brought to Malaysia by members of the British army, with the first competition being held in 1939. The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) was created on 25 June 1972, and has had great success in Asian squash competitions. Football is popular in Malaysia, and Malaysia has proposed a Southeast Asian football league. Hockey is popular in Malaysia, with the Malaysian team ranked 14th in the world as of 2010. Malaysia hosted the third Hockey World Cup at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, before also hosting the 10th cup. Malaysia has its own Formula One track, the Sepang International Circuit. It runs for 310.408 kilometres (193 mi), and held its first Grand Prix in 2000. Golf is growing in popularity, with many courses being built around the country.
The Federation of Malaya Olympic Council was formed in 1953, and received recognition by the International Olympic Committee in 1954. It first participated in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The council was renamed the Olympic Council of Malaysia in 1964, and has participated in all but one Olympic games since the council was formed. The largest number of athletes sent to the Olympics was 57, to the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Malaysian athletes have won a total of four Olympic medals, all of which are in badminton. Malaysia has competed at the Commonwealth Games since 1950 as Malaya, and 1966 as Malaysia. It has been dominant in badminton, and hosted the games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. The 1998 Commonwealth Games were the first time the torch relay went through more nations than just England and the host country.
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